Author Topic: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)  (Read 19909 times)

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Offline Cylinder

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Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« on: April 11, 2013, 03:23:22 PM »
Note: This thread is to discuss the use of the court filing in the criminal case - not a discussion of the settlement itself. The settlement discussion thread can be found here and Talk Left's position on these discussions generally can be found here.
 
MOTION TO UNSEAL INFORMATION LISTED AS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION WITHIN A COURT FILING OR. IN THE ALTERNATIVE DEMAND FOR SPECIFIC DISCOVERY
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10. That while a “confidential” civil settlement agreement may maintain its confidentiality in certain circles, it is not, by nature of its voluntary confidentiality, an agreement which is beyond discovery under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.220.

ll. Further, Mr. Zimmerman has certain Sixth Amendment rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution which allow him to properly confront his witnesses. An element of confrontation of witnesses is to identify bias which may exist pertaining to those witnesses.

12. This contention is supported by the Standard Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases [...] Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 3.9 (emphasis added). Both subsections (4) and (6) of these instructions highlight that a witness’ financial interest in the case may be considered by the jury in determining what weight to give that testimony and to determine whether or not that testimony is reliable.

13. That the receipt of monies to date, based upon the argument that Mr. Zimmerman was at fault in causing the death of Trayvon Martin, is evidence of potential bias which could affect the testimony of these witnesses.

14. In addition, Mr. Crump, on behalf of Trayvon Martin’s family, has already statedvthat the family intends to sue Mr. Zimmerman and other entities based on the suggestion that Mr. Zimmerman was culpable in the death of Trayvon Martin. A conviction in this matter would enhance the estate’s position in these potential civil lawsuits.

Offline DebFrmHell

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 03:54:10 PM »
I think that Crump may have made a tactical error by filing that settlement.  All of this was settled well before either Sybrina Fulton or Tracy Martin were deposed.  I am sure that one of the questions asked was whether they had gained or were promised anything financially.  Even BDLR asked that question of W8.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 04:04:01 PM »
  I am sure that one of the questions asked was whether they had gained or were promised anything financially. 

Knowing or being advised that something is in one's financial interest, isn't the same as being 'promised' a quid pro quo.

Offline cboldt

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 04:06:52 PM »
I think that Crump may have made a tactical error by filing that settlement.

That's an understatement.  He's likely angered people who were on his own side (Sybrina, Tracy, Nelson), bystanders (HOA insurer), and may have gotten the clerk of the court in trouble for leaking.  On top of that, he's put the HOA insurer in a position where it could exercise the part of the agreement that voids it on unauthorized disclosure (I don't think it will, not unless Crump is thoroughly and very publicly humiliated, and the chances of that are about as good as humiliating the fellow who brought us Tawana Brawley), and he's given O'Mara some hard/printed evidence that can be used to cast doubt on the testimony of ALL of the witnesses that support the state's murder case.

Yeah.  It was a mistake alright, and it's reasonable speculation that he did it in an effort to save his own skin.

Offline cboldt

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 04:14:37 PM »
Knowing or being advised that something is in one's financial interest, isn't the same as being 'promised' a quid pro quo.

Ever the literalist.  But, what you say is perfectly true.

As for the legal standard, O'Mara highlighted two questions straight from the standard jury instructions.  "Did the witness have some interest in how the case should be decided?" "Has the witness been offered or received any money, preferred treatment, or other benefit in order to get the witness to testify?"

People's motives to lie or shade the truth can be complex, and there is no requirement that only direct bribes or clear quid pro quo agreements "count" as influencing testimony.  The jury is entitled to know of arrangements (beside the simple fact that the victim's family and friends are unlikely to throw the deceased under the bus) that may induce false or  misleading testimony.

Offline Cylinder

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 04:18:12 PM »
Exhibit A is cringe-worthy:

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Please be advised that this letter reaffiirms a letter sent by Natalie Jackson, Esquire, dated March 14, 2012, requesting that Twin Lakes Homeowners Association preserves any and all evidence related to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin that occurred on February 26, 2012, on Retreat at Twin Lakes property in Sanford, Florida. Our office represents Sybrina. Fulton and Tracy Martin, the natural parents of Trayvon Martin. It is imperative that any evidence relating to this incident remain in the same and unchanged condition as the date of the incident, to preserve and prevent the spoliation of evidence fior civil litigation purposes.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2013, 04:42:24 PM »
Exhibit A is cringe-worthy:

Why? It looks routine to me.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 04:50:44 PM »
I am sure that one of the questions asked was whether they had gained or were promised anything financially.

Knowing or being advised that something is in one's financial interest, isn't the same as being 'promised' a quid pro quo.

As for the legal standard, O'Mara highlighted two questions straight from the standard jury instructions. 

Just to be clear, the 'legal standard' you refer to has nothing to do with what I was talking about.

Offline cboldt

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2013, 04:52:10 PM »
Why? It looks routine to me.

I won't speak for Cylinder, but the date the HOA was put on written notice is a little over two weeks after the shooting.  I don't know if that short of a turnaround is common - my instinct tells me it is VERY uncommon, as most civil suits are delayed.  Somebody (Crump) went fishing for moola very early in the game.

See the effect it has on family witness credibility, which is generally shaky anyway (blood thicker than water and all).

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2013, 04:54:28 PM »
most civil suits are delayed. 

All the more reason to act quickly to preserve evidence.


Offline cboldt

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2013, 04:55:41 PM »
Just to be clear, the 'legal standard' you refer to has nothing to do with what I was talking about.

Perfectly true.  What were you talking about, anyway?  I mean, other than the obvious fact that "Knowing or being advised that something is in one's financial interest, isn't the same as being 'promised' a quid pro quo."  What was the point?

Offline Cylinder

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2013, 05:00:13 PM »
Why? It looks routine to me.

The "preserve and prevent the spoliation of evidence" part.

Offline cboldt

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 05:06:58 PM »
The "preserve and prevent the spoliation of evidence" part.

That's common language.  It's referring to evidence as between Zimmerman, the HOA, and the watch program.  I don't think the HOA had all that much evidence in its possession anyway, and I think all of it appears in the criminal investigation.

The putative HOA opponent in litigation is putting the HOA on notice to not get rid of evidence it has, that documents how Zimmerman got to be the go to fellow for concerns and observations about crime in the neighborhood.

Offline Cylinder

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 05:12:05 PM »
That's common language.  It's referring to evidence as between Zimmerman, the HOA, and the watch program.  I don't think the HOA had all that much evidence in its possession anyway, and I think all of it appears in the criminal investigation.

The putative HOA opponent in litigation is putting the HOA on notice to not get rid of evidence it has, that documents how Zimmerman got to be the go to fellow for concerns and observations about crime in the neighborhood.

Sorry - I'm not disputing that it's common language. I'm questioning Mr. Crump's ability to comply with what he asks of others. (i.e. preserving the W8 statement). I think I'll just drop it, though, as to avoid a thread derail.

Offline TalkLeft

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Re: Motion to Unseal Court Filing (HOA Settlement)
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2013, 05:14:29 PM »
O'Mara points out that since Crump confirmed as late as last week the Martins intend to sue Zimmerman after the criminal case, and a criminal conviction is likely to enhance their chances in such a civil suit, they have a financial interest in a conviction.

The Florida jury instructions advising the jury how to determine a witness's credibility contains a list of things for them to consider, including:

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4. Did the witness have some interest in how the case should be decided?

6. Has the witness been offered or received any money, preferred treatment, or
other benefit in order to get the witness to testify?

In other words, "a witness' financial interest in the case may be considered by the jury in determining what weight to give that testimony and to determine whether or not that testimony is reliable."

Receipt of money is also relevant to a witness' bias, another factor for the jury to consider in determining credibiility.

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That the receipt of monies to date, based upon the argument that Mr. Zimmerman was at fault in causing the death of Trayvon Martin, is evidence of potential bias which could affect the testimony of these witnesses.

O'Mara gives the example of Serino's report stating Tracy Martin denied the screams on W-11's 911 call were Trayvon's. Later, Crump denied he said that, insisting "What Tracy Martin told police ... was that 'he couldn't tell, that it was too distorted."'

Tracy Martin adopted Crump's version when O'Mara deposed him.

Bottom line: O'Mara writes

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That Mr. Zimmerman's Sixth Amendment rights to properly confront witnesses outweighs any protection afforded to a private, non-litigation confidential settlement agreement.

Maybe the state will respond by saying they aren't calling either Tracy or Sybrina Martin. They weren't there and have no first hand information. As to the screams, the state could call Ronquavis Fulton who claims the screams were Trayvon, or his cousin Stephen or any number of Trayvon's relatives who would testify they think it was Trayvon. They don't need Sybrina or Tracy.



 

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